Last week I gave you some information off the top of my head that I’d gathered over the years. Some of it wasn’t correct, so I did some research. Here’s what I learned:
Joni Evans, a former executive vice president at Random House said in an interview that, “Only 10 percent of the books published by any house earn out their advance.”
For large publishers of romance (Avon, Ballentine, Bantam, Berkley, Grand Central, St. Martins, Harlequin, Dorchester, Kensington) the average advance for a first book is $10,300. The median advance (as many authors got more as got less) for a first book is about $7000. These figures are an average of the average advances and median advances anonymously self-reported to Brenda Hiatt over a ten year period. I also averaged the first advances for all the Harlequin imprints and used that figure ($4000). Had I used each imprint’s figure separately, the overall numbers would likely have been lower.) The numbers vary from $1000 (Avalon, Medallion) to $40,000 (Ballentine).
78% of titles are small press or self-published.
Non-fiction outsells fiction 2 to 1.
The average POD tiltle sells 75 copies. (This number varies according to the source. I’ve also seen 100 – 150 copies. I’ll say again that I wish there was a way to separate the performance of books produced as a hobby from those produced as a serious business venture.)
Fifty-two percent of books are not sold in bookstores. They’re sold by mail order, online, from discount warehouses, book clubs, and non-traditional stores (like gift shops).
Of 300 booksellers surveyed (half from chain stores, half from indies) 75% said the look and design of a book cover is most important.
The average time a customer spends looking at a cover is 8 seconds. They’ll look at the back cover for 15 seconds.
There are 6 large publishers (Random House, Inc., Penguin Putnam Inc., HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings, Time Warner, Simon & Schuster, Inc.) Four are foreign owned. There are 300 – 400 medium size publishers, and around 86,000 small or self-publishers.
35% of Amazon’s book sales are via Kindle.
Sources (always consider the source when evaluating information):
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom an Marily Ross